Plea Hearing Delayed in Ohio County Strangulation Case

Photo by Alan Olson David Smith, left, appears Thursday with his attorney, Keith Hart, in Ohio County Circuit Court.

A plea hearing set for Thursday was continued until September for a Wheeling man accused of strangling a small child.

David Smith, 41, of Wheeling, was scheduled for a plea hearing Thursday morning before Circuit Judge David Sims. However, his attorney, Keith Hart, said the terms of the plea agreement had not yet been put in writing. Because the judge had several court hearings set for Thursday, the attorneys asked to have the matter continued to a later date.

Assistant Ohio County Prosecutor Jenna Perkins also said various factors regarding the plea agreement — including Smith’s health — were not final. Hart said Smith has an upcoming MRI set for Sept. 4. Attorneys did not elaborate on how Smith’s health might affect the case.

“He has a medical issue that’s being evaluated,” said Perkins after the hearing. “There’s been a provisional agreement made. We just have to check with the family and law enforcement.”

Smith is scheduled to return to court at 10 a.m. Sept 21.

Smith is facing two felony charges: strangulation and child abuse creating risk of bodily injury. The charges stem from a July 2017 incident in which he allegedly grabbed a 6-year-old child by the throat.

“There’s a lot of other circumstances,” said Perkins. “This isn’t a run-of-the-mill case. … Not to defend any of his actions.”

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